The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway

The Lincoln Highway Byway is just a part of the Iowa Byway program (www.iowabyways.org). There are eleven in total. Two are National Byways and nine are state Byways. The two National ones are the Loess Hills (along the Missouri River) and the Great River Road (along the Mississippi River). The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway connects with the two National Byways at Clinton (on the Mississippi River side) and in Missouri Valley to Council Bluffs (on the Missouri River side). Two other byways connect to the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway. The Iowa Scenic Valley shares LeGrand, Montour, Tama, Chelsea, and Belle Plaine with the Lincoln. Our road heads back north to Marion and Cedar Rapids and theirs heads south to Marengo and the Amanas. Western Skies Scenic Byway also connects with the Lincoln in Missouri Valley and they both head north to Logan and Woodbine. The Lincoln keeps going north to Dunlap, but the Western Skies heads east to Harlan , Kimballton, a...
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Traveling the Lincoln Highway Byway

I live just off the Lincoln Highway Byway and travel on it daily. But how well do I know this important piece of history? There was this new invention- the automobile- being produced and auto makers really wanted to sell their inventions. They needed roads for traveling and thought it would be pretty neat for cars to travel east and west across the entire nation. The Lincoln Highway began in 1913 as an assortment of existing wagon roads, turnpikes, and trails. The road started in Times Square in New York and ended in San Francisco, California. The Iowa portion was dictated in part by how to cross two rivers- the Missouri on the west and the Mighty Mississippi on the east. Good bridges were identified in Clinton and Council Bluffs and "good roads" were sought to connect these two points. This often proved to be a challenge, because much of Iowa was boggy, spongy soil and roads often turned to mud. Iowa...
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Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway: Year in Review

Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway: Year in Review

By John Mazzello, Project Coordinator With 2014 nearly in the rear-view mirror and 2015 starting to appear in the headlights, now is a good time to take a look back at the Lincoln Highway’s 101st year in Iowa.  2014 saw a deepening of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway’s role in the state. We launched an exciting new project, the development of a new Corridor Management Plan for the byway, this year.  This plan is an important opportunity for the byway to reach out to residents, businesses, and travelers to create a strong strategy to support Iowa’s communities along the Lincoln Highway and preserve the important resources of the byway. Also in 2014, we moved forward with a unique project to identify locations along the byway with sustainable land management practices, thanks to a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant.  This project will allow us to build interpretive signage to highlight these land practices, sharing with byway travelers who we know are...
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The Natural World as Classroom

by John Mazzello, Project Coordinator If you’ve been following Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s Facebook page or newsletter, you might remember that we are working on a unique project with the opportunity to affect how Iowa’s students of all ages experience and learn about the environment and the natural world around us. Through our “Outdoor Learning Environments in Iowa” project, funded by grants from Iowa’s Living Roadway Trust Fund and the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP CEP), we are exploring the state of outdoor classrooms in Iowa and building resources and guidance to assist future creators and funders in developing successful and sustainable outdoor learning sites. This summer, with the assistance of Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s Mike Brandrup, we have completed site visits to outdoor classrooms previously supported by the Living Roadway Trust Fund and surveyed outdoor educators and school staff on the successes and challenges of using outdoor spaces to deepen learning across all subject areas. While there are...
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Learning through Healthy Soil and Water

This year, Prairie Rivers of Iowa is working on a project to assist Iowa’s outdoor classrooms in becoming more effective by researching existing outdoor classrooms in the state, seeking best practices from around the country, and putting together resources and materials for educators who want to create an outdoor classroom in their area.1  You probably also know about our work with area schools through our Kids on the Byway and School and Community Gardens programs. In honor of National Soil and Water Conservation Week, it’s worth taking a look at the important role that healthy soil and water can play in educating the next generation of Iowa leaders.  Research has shown many benefits result when students are able to experience the natural environment in person as part of their education.  These experiences can help contribute to child development and skill-building, increase fitness and motor skills, and even build creativity and reduce stress.  Outdoor experiences also help increase student success in a...
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Lincoln Highway’s Corridor Management Plan

As you may know, Prairie Rivers of Iowa manages the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, one of 11 byways in Iowa (a byway is a road specially designated by the United States or by the State of Iowa for its distinctive qualities).  Part of our work along the byway is telling the story of the people and places of the Lincoln Highway, by working to preserve its history, by promoting local businesses and events, and by working with communities and statewide organizations to recognize its unique character.  If you've seen us at a motor tour stop, presenting to a community group, or read a Lincoln Highway brochure, you've seen some of our work on the byway. Beginning this spring, we are launching a three-year initiative: creating a new Corridor Management Plan for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway.  A Corridor Management Plan, or CMP, is a document that both reveals the assets of the Lincoln Highway and creates a plan for preserving and...
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